SINGAPORE - Singapore's annual birthday bash next year will be held at the Floating Platform - for the second consecutive year - because of the "stunning and even surreal" backdrop it provides, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Friday (Aug 18).
He revealed the venue in a speech at a function at the Gardens By The Bay to thank participating organisations, sponsors and key appointment holders of the organising committee for this year's National Day Parade, which was held at the Marina Bay floating platform on Aug 9.
Dr Ng said there are few other locations in the world like the one at Marina Bay that allows a show with air, land and sea elements.
"Our NDP is a unique one, and even more so this floating platform, which is meant to be temporary," said Dr Ng.
"When you look at the pictures of NDP at the Floating Platform and the backdrop of Marina Bay now fully developed... it is stunning and even surreal.
"I have said that we should use the Floating Platform while we have it, so the organising committee has decided that next year's NDP, NDP 2018, will again be held at the Floating Platform."
Since the old national stadium closed in 2007, the Aug 9 celebration has been held seven times at the floating platform and twice at the Padang. Last year, the NDP was held at the new National Stadium, while the SG50 bash was held at the Padang.
Touted as the largest of its kind in the world, the floating platform with a capacity of 27,000 was deemed to have staged its last NDP in 2014 following completion of the new National Stadium.
But the 2016 NDP drew controversy due to cost issues, while its safety restrictions also meant the Red Lions skydivers and a mobile column of military equipment could not be part of the birthday bash.
In his speech on Friday, Dr Ng also highlighted the significant role of operationally-ready national servicemen (NSmen) in this year's parade, which also celebrated 50 years of national service.
He said: "Many more NSmen were put front and centre for NDP 2017, as they should, because NSmen are the backbone of our national defence."
Dr Ng hosted the dinner reception for participating organisations, sponsors and key appointment holders of the NDP 2017 organising committee, in recognition of their support and contributions. Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General Perry Lim and Chief of Army Major-General Melvyn Ong also attended the event.
Dr Ng gave certifications of appreciation to 14 Gold award recipients and 53 principal partners.
Gold award recipients are individuals or organisations who played important roles in the NDP efforts, while principal partners are those who made monetary or in-kind contributions of more than $200,000.